February 25, 2008 at 11:09 AMThe first time I encountered him was on a Sunday morning, while traveling to Homer to teach lessons. Even while approaching him from behind, it was obvious by the sight of blue and orange lights that the truck was some form of law enforcement vehicle. State Trooper--in bold slanted font--I read on its side as I passed, my needle pointing at 39 in a 35. Surely he wouldn’t mind my inconspicuous exaggeration; after all, speedometers have been known to be off by more than that, anyway. That’s why I was so surprised when I saw the lights in my rearview mirror.
In the Safeway parking lot, he and I tentatively (and respectfully, I might add) discussed actual vs. hypothetical speed. He had no forms and no radar gun, so it was his speedometer against mine. Peering inside my car, he saw the violin case in the passenger seat. “Hey, mind if I get your business card? I’ve been looking for a violin teacher.” My stomach made my face flush. I mumbled something about the phone book and thanked him anyway for the free warning. Meanwhile, I memorized his license plate and made a mental note not to have any openings in my schedule for him.
The coffee shop crowd had a great time later, nibbling on my story while sipping their americanos. Wasn’t he that one cop that took underage girls out drinking? And wasn’t he that one cop that made lewd comments to the girl over at the Mocha Wagon? You can’t trust those cops, there are far too many up to no good. Corrupt predators, every last one of ‘em, with sharp pointy teeth under their wooly pretenses.
A few weeks later, I fielded a phone call from a man who explained that he took violin lessons once in Juneau, but the recent move up had severed him from his teacher. I told him I was booked, but if he would like to give me his name and number, I would let him know just as soon as I had any openings. I sensed sheepishness. It was then that he confessed tentatively (and respectfully, I might add) “...Actually, I’m ashamed to admit we’ve met already. You see, I was the cop who pulled you over a while back.” ...Oh. Smugly, I wrote down his personal information and thanked him for calling.
Booked. I have to admit, though, he didn’t sound very much like a toothy predator on the phone. In fact, I felt a little sorry for him because of the courage I sensed him mustering as we spoke.
Today I passed through Soldotna on my way to Homer in the typical Sunday routine, running five minutes behind and five miles over. Usually, I make a straight shot with almost no interruptions (minus moose and blizzards). Today however, I spied the blue and orange again, and going five under to boot. Shoot, do I pass him, or do I stay behind him for all 75 miles? Maybe he won’t recognise me, but if I pass him, I’ll have to speed just a little, and he didn’t like that the last time. But if I stay behind him, my sanity will whittle away and I will arrive at the lesson just in time to wrap violin strings around the children’s toes and hang them from the balcony. Then, what’s a speeding ticket in light of a double homicide?
I was still speculating the outcome of my options when the violin cop made a sudden unexpected right signal and pulled to the side of the road. He was letting me by! But why? Obviously, it has to be some sort of sting operation, since he knows I’m going to speed once I’ve passed. Plus he has those pointy teeth and all. He’ll run me down, and threaten me with handcuffs and other newspaper-worthy devices, and then how’ll I defend myself? I know, I could buy him off, offer him that slot that opened up last Tuesday. Yes, that’s what I’ll do: free lessons for a clean driving record.
He didn’t catch up to me after all, which seemed anticlimactic after the excitement I’d conjured. It wasn’t until the drive home that the thought occurred to me that maybe he was actually being purposefully nice in case I would reconsider him.
If I took him, I'd sandwich him in between two kids with big, burly dads and require the dads to come to lessons. Or maybe sandwich him in between two kids whose moms were prettier than me...
But if I were suspicious...
I would tell him he had to try out for my one open lesson slot. Then if he seemed uncongenial there would be an excuse.
I have an acquaintance who's giving up music to become a cop. I thought up a good name for a cop band. Call yourselves "The State Trippers." You're hereby granted unlimited license to use it in exchange for unlimited license to drive any way I want.
yum,yum, cop chops:-)
I am not sure if the comments about his character were made up or not(underage girs and such) but his record is public knowledge. And calling his previous teacher would be a good idea, on the premiss to judge his ability, persay.
But if you are just being overly cautious, take a chance, but call his teacher and maybe book lesson times at the local music store, for a more public environment.
Remember that these guys (and gals!) risk their lives everyday to keep us safe. Last year alone, 186 officers died in the line of duty, protecting and serving the public.
I am both a police supervisor and a concert violinist ... the two need not be mutually exclusive.
Remember that if you 'run' into him again ...
I knew a cop who was a hillarious comedian. A former cop anyway. He had a shop where he did gun repairs in the afternoon and night, and in the mornings the taught machine shop at a technical school. I used to hang out at his shop when I needed to laugh my ass off. Being a machinist, he made a high percentage of the gun parts he used. He figured he could clean up if he could just have the kids make gun parts in shop class. Probably wouldn't have gone over.
I will spell it out more plainly next time.
And besides, the slot won't work into his schedule.
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